LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

« Return to Nominee List

Queen Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw

Position: Retiring Math Teacher
School: Hoke County High School
School District: Hoke County Schools
City, State: Raeford, NC

Support Queen Esther Leave a comment for Queen Esther

Music that Describes Queen Esther


Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw was nominated by her superintendent, Freddie Williamson.

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw definitely embraces all of the characteristics of a LifeChanger. She has dedicated over 40 years of providing exemplary service and support to the students, families, employees, and community members of Hoke County Schools. At the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, she will be retiring. Her contributions, leadership, and dedication to the students and community will be greatly missed. 

“Esther's math classroom has been a staple in the lives of Hoke County students for over four decades. Each day, the full focus of her energy and commitment to excellence was never in question,” said Roger Edwards, associate superintendent for Hoke County Schools.

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s dedication, positive attitude, nonstop energy, and her willingness to always go above and beyond have led to her receiving numerous local, state, and national awards throughout her tenure including:

  • Hoke County High School Teacher of the Year

  • Hoke County Teacher of the Year 

  • North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics Award

  • 2017 Hoke County Hall of Fame 

  • 2016 Outstanding Mathematics Design Collaborative Award

  • 2001 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year

Over the past four decades, Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s student-centered instruction has enabled hundreds of high school students to apply the knowledge they gained through experience and hands-on strategies in solving complex problems. By requiring students to think on their own with guiding questions and probing feedback from her, she provided students with the opportunities they needed to gain skills they could use in college and in the workforce. She focuses on 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, perseverance, and self-monitoring, instead of just mathematical content. Her goal is to help students develop the characteristics needed for college, career, and life readiness.  

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw has created a positive learning environment that is very student-oriented. She focuses on building positive self-esteem through high standards and well-designed instruction. Her classroom promotes collaboration, teamwork, high ethical character, and communication. She consistently adjusts instruction based on formative assessment and student work products.

In 2016, she was awarded with the Outstanding Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC) Teacher Award by the Southern Regional Education Board, an organization consisting of governors from 16 states and four gubernatorial appointees from each state. Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw was honored for her formal and informal leadership as a coach and supporter of her peers. She was also recognized for supporting her school district as they built capacity to adopt the MDC approach and shift instruction using evidence-based practices that engage students in reasoning and applying math content to complex problems. As a master teacher, she consistently serves as a role model for all stakeholders by demonstrating and embracing the importance of growth.

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s dedication, compassion, and ability to listen responsively to students and staff have contributed to the respect she is granted by her colleagues at the school and district levels. As a teacher-leader, she mentors new teachers and facilitates “working lunches” for the math department in her classroom on a regular basis. She also meets with teachers after school to help them with whatever they need to be successful. Additionally, she supports her district's math professional development efforts by collaborating and facilitating workshops for middle school and high school math teachers. Finally, she's one of the district’s “go-to” people because she is dependable, knowledgeable, produces quality work, has high moral and ethical standards, and has a positive attitude.  Even after 40 years of teaching, she continues to seek opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.  

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s leadership has had a significant impact on her school, school district, and community. Over the course of her career, she has served as a math teacher, Instructional Facilitator, Women’s Varsity Basketball Coach, Women’s Volleyball Coach, Assistant Track Coach, Math Department Chairperson, School Improvement Team Member, Grade 9 Transition Team Member, Summer Math Academy Administrator, Army Youth Program in Your Neighborhood (AYPYN) Site Coordinator, and Beginning Teacher Mentor, Local and National Presenter. She led the women’s basketball team to numerous conference championships and ranked 4th in the state. In 2017, she was inducted into the Hoke County Hall of Fame for her athletic accomplishments.

On top of her many supportive roles, Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw found time to offer tutoring sessions several times each week for students needing extra academic support. Her efforts to motivate students also include frequent parent contacts through phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings. She believes in bridging the gap between home and school.  

"Our larger community continues to benefit from the work ethic and the knowledge Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw has instilled in our students," said Williamson. "The entire Hoke County Schools community holds her in very high regard. She has definitely changed the lives of the students she teaches, the teachers she has mentored, the administrators who learn something from her each time they are around her, and the parents who request to have their children in her class each year."



Comments (30)


Jessica Shaw Posted 8 months ago

Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw is a phenomenal woman and educator. I know this because I have seen it first hand for the past twenty-eight years. I’ve witnessed the late nights and early mornings that she has put in year after year, and she has done so with a smile on her face. Forty years is a long time to stick with something, and she has done so happily. Throughout those forty years there have been numerous changes in education, society, and technology. I am proud to say that she changed with the times and studied to stay current. Due to the hard work, dedication, and time that she put in, so many Hoke County students were able to succeed. As a daughter, I am proud and inspired. I can only hope that I can continue my journey in the education system and be half as amazing as she is. She is a woman of faith, family, love, and education. She is firm, yet fair. She is powerful and the reason I am an educator today. I will never forget how many people stop us to speak, tell us how great my mother is, and thank her for what she did for them. Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw is a life changer, and her forty years of service depicts that. Her work speaks for her. Job well done, mom. I love you, and I’m proud to be your child.

Emiliana Geronimo Posted 8 months ago

Go Auntie!!!

Marcus Purcell Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw is a leader in our community. She taught several generation and has made an impact on so many lives. She is an all around great person to be around. She is the Queen of Hoke County.

Tiffany White Posted 8 months ago

It is an honor to write these words of praise on behalf of Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw. I met Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw during the time I was employed for Hoke County Schools. I was very impressed with her knowledge and leadership skills. Her passion for students and their academic success was also evident to me in her roles during my years in Hoke County. I have also witnessed over and over the devotion, she has for grooming prospective teachers and educational professionals. She is dedicated to the field of education and I am looking forward to learning more about the accomplishments that lie in her professional future. All of her hard work has made an impact on students and teachers as myself, that has come in contact with her. Lifechanger is the perfect word to describe her. Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw is more than deserving of this award!

Alisa M McCallum Posted 8 months ago

Amazing educator!

Luella Posted 8 months ago

Esther you deserve this nomination for your service of commitment and dedication! I'm proud of all your many achievements but most of all I'm proud to call you my friend my sister!

Gail Taylor Posted 8 months ago

Good teachers are hard to come by and especially one like you. You have made a difference in each child life that you have come in contact with and may God bless you on the next chapter in your life. Congratulations

KaSandra Royster Posted 8 months ago

Esther Holl-Shaw is a respected teacher, coach and life long member of Hoke County. She has a strong faith and a wonderful family.

Leroy Champagnie Posted 8 months ago

Great teacher, great leader.She inspires, motivates and ensure that all teachers were comfortable at all times.

Spencer Whittington Posted 8 months ago

She was strict, honest, and sometimes funny, and she was always a great teacher. She taught me math and much more.

Gevetta Whittington Posted 8 months ago

MS. Holl- Shaw was the most solid math teacher I had during my formative years. She expected you to do well.

Godzetta Whittington Posted 8 months ago

Truly she is one of the best teachers my children have ever had. She wants her students to learn and she is willing to teach them.

David Patterson Posted 8 months ago

I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Hollingsworth-Shaw since we were children. People in the community had no doubt that she would be and continue to be destined for greatness. Congratulations Madam Hollingsworth-Shaw and may GOD continue to bless all that you touch. We love you!!!!!!!

Emeka J Crowder Posted 8 months ago

You have been a great inspiration to so many students and teachers. You will be truly missed.

Tiffany White Posted 8 months ago

It is an honor to write these words of praise on behalf of Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw. I met Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw during the time I was employed for Hoke County Schools. I was very impressed with her knowledge and leadership skills. Her passion for students and their academic success was also evident to me in her roles during my years in Hoke County. I have also witnessed over and over the devotion, she has for grooming prospective teachers and educational professionals. She is dedicated to the field of education and I am looking forward to learning more about the accomplishments that lie in her professional future. All of her hard work has made an impact on students and teachers as myself, that has come in contact with her. Lifechanger is the perfect word to describe her. Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw is more than deserving of this award!

TeBorah Hawkins-Hollingsworth Posted 8 months ago

My aunt has been a phenomenal woman throughout the years. She not only impacted my life, but also impacted many other lives. She has always been someone to put he pride to the side to care for the less fortunate and anyone who needed help, even if they did not ask for help. She has been an advocate for students in Hoke County and other surrounding counties. I know that she impacted so many lives especially when it came down to sports. Even though I had never played volleyball, she is the one that encouraged me to play hard and give my all. She is one of the reasons I ended up receiving multiple scholarship opportunities to play college volleyball. She pushes people (including myself) to be the best woman that I can be and to never settle for less. I’m proud to call her my auntie!

Dawn Geronimo Posted 8 months ago

Yes..you have the right one. I also nominate Esther Hollingsworth. She has been an example for Parents as well as children. Teaching has always been her passion. I have never known her to do anything else. She is dedicated to her career With no apologies. Always going over and beyond during and after school to make sure her kids excelled.

Joe Monroe Posted 8 months ago

Esther has always been a compassionate teacher, coach and mother. Her desire to see others succeed surpasses most. She has touched and changed so many lives. She is one of the best people I know.

Helen Branch Posted 8 months ago

Esther is a magnificent teacher and coach. She is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that her students succeed and are in the best place possible to achieve their goals.

Mazie Quick Posted 8 months ago

Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw poured her heart and soul into shaping the lives of children for many years. After teaching the many math classes during the day, she extended her time and talent to students in the AYPYN after-school enrichment/tutorial program. Thank you for creating a space in your heart for the children in the Hoke County School District. I have truly enjoyed the many meetings we attended together to discuss ways to support and appreciate our children. Thank you for your friendship and the astounding job you provided to the students at Hoke County High School. You made a great difference for children because you cared so much about them.

Mazie Quick Posted 8 months ago

Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw poured her heart and soul into shaping the lives of children for many years. After teaching the many math classes during the day, she extended her time and talent to students in the AYPYN after-school enrichment/tutorial program. Thank you for creating a space in your heart for the children in the Hoke County School District. I have truly enjoyed the many meetings we attended together to discuss ways to support and appreciate our children. Thank you for your friendship and the astounding job you provided to the students at Hoke County High School. You made a great difference for children because you cared so much about them.

George Campbell Posted 8 months ago

A lady with grace ,careing and always has a smile. Thanks for dedication. In helping others. God Bless

Angela Garner Posted 8 months ago

I first met Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw in 2018 and found her to be one of the sweetest individuals you would want to meet. I'm sure you will be missed upon your retirement but for now I celebrate with you and say thank you for the many contributions you have made as an educator. Many blessings to you!

Willette Jones Posted 8 months ago

Ms. Hollingsworth-Shaw is a very nice person. She is always willing to help in what ever capacity she is needed. She will go above and beyond to help others.

Elijah Fulcher Posted 8 months ago

I start out by saying that I think she is worthy of double honors as a life changer because she is more than a person who talks about helping others, but your life has proven to be one that changes others. It has been a pleasure working with Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw over the past seven years. Although I have known of you longer than that, during the time we have worked together, I have been able to witness your awesome servant leadership style. You are always willing to assist others in need and you do a great job of seeing the best in people even when we may not be at our best all of the time. I have been blessed and fortunate to see how you work with others and it has been amazing to see how well you motivate students and the lasting impact that you have had on those in the community as well as your church. The way that you work with students is not something that you do just from 8 to 4; but it is something that I have witnessed in your own children and in the lives of children in our church community. We are certainly proud of you already and our lives have already been changed by knowing you and we look forward to the great works that you will continue to do as you change lives in your new normal environment.

Judy Mathews Posted 8 months ago

Although I do not know Ms. Hollingsworth-Shaw, my daughter has been attending the SandHoke early college When I went to volunteer at the school Ms. Hollingsworth-Shaw's reputation perseves herself! All I can can say is that Hoke County will not be the same with out her!! She will truly be missed!

Amanda Briggs Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw has had a great impact on her students. Everywhere she goes she is stopped by former students expressing how much they appreciate the education they received from her. Not only has she been an inspiration to her students, but also to her fellow teachers who she has mentored. Beyond that, she has also been a coach and church leader. She is someone I am glad to call my friend and she is very deserving of this nomination.

Kimberly Foley Posted 8 months ago

Everyone knows Ms. Hollingsworth-Shaw in Hoke County because she has had such a profound impact on several generations of students. She is synonymous with the word life changer. She has high expectations and never let poverty be an excuse for students. She is the kind of teacher we all aspire to be.

LaTonya Adams Posted 8 months ago

Queen Esther is the epitome of a Master Teacher who loves all children. She is a dynamic mentor to beginning teachers and gladly embraces innovation and collaboration. We will miss this jewel!

Lia McNeill Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw is a pillar in the Hoke County community. Everyone who meets her is better for it. She builds people up, and makes sure no one is left behind. She has such a beautiful spirit, a lifetime of achievement, and is so deserving of this award.